US official holds talks over land and maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, left, holds talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut. (AP/File)
Updated 13 June 2019
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US official holds talks over land and maritime borders between Lebanon and Israel

  • Lebanon rejected Satterfield’s suggestion that Israel could invest oil wealth extracted from the area into a 360-sq km zone

BEIRUT: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield has held a new round of talks with Lebanese officials, regarding the negotiation mechanism between Lebanon and Israel on their land and maritime borders.

However, a Lebanese government source told Arab News that “things are still complicated.”

Satterfield, currently in Beirut, met with Lebanon’s Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday.

The source said: “Complications are not only limited to the negotiation’s time frame, but to every other detail, particularly the issue of setting the maritime border.

“The file of setting the land border, however, is not an issue, where there is an adopted and continuous negotiation mechanism,” the source added.

In 2012, US meditation by former envoys Frederic Hof and Amos Hochstein acknowledged Lebanon’s right to 500 square kilometers of the disputed area along the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Lebanon rejected Satterfield’s suggestion that Israel could invest oil wealth extracted from the area into a 360-sq km zone.

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis informed Aoun and Berri on Monday that the UN had agreed to sponsor and host negotiations at its regional headquarters in Naqoura. Berri’s press office said the meeting discussed the issue of land and maritime borders, while Hariri’s said the meeting “reviewed the path of (Satterfield’s) mission.”

Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col, UN head of mission and force commander in Lebanon, chaired Monday’s tripartite military meeting in Naqoura between official representatives of the Lebanese and Israeli armed forces.

Discussions “focused on air and ground violations, the situation along the Blue Line, the issue of permanent violations including in the northern part of the village of GHajjar, as well as other issues within the scope of the UN Security Council.”

Maj Gen. Del Col asserted that “the Tripartite mechanism is a successful conduit in finding solutions and minimizing tensions, as it allows us all to take stock of current pressing issues and security concerns along the Blue Line, in an open and transparent manner.”

Meetings in Naqoura have been regularly held under the auspices of the UN since the 2006 war in southern Lebanon, as an “essential conflict management and confidence building mechanism,” according the UN’s media office.


Syrian insurgents shell government-held rural area, kill 12

Updated 30 sec ago
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Syrian insurgents shell government-held rural area, kill 12

  • The attack late Sunday took place in the village of Wadehi, south of Syria’s Aleppo city
  • A car bomb went off near the headquarters of the Kurdish security forces in Qamishli
DAMASCUS, Syria: Syrian insurgents fired rockets into residential parts of the government-held northern province of Aleppo, striking a wedding party and killing at least 12 civilians and wounding 15, state media said Monday.
The attack late Sunday took place in the village of Wadehi, south of Aleppo city, which abuts the last rebel-held enclave.
Syria’s state TV Al-Ikhbariya said children were among those killed and some of the wounded were in critical conditions. The TV said more rockets landed as people tried to escape from the scene of the attack.
One woman told the TV that a missile landed in a room where four girls were, killing them. Another girl said her two sisters and one brother were killed in the strike.
A doctor speaking to the TV station said three of the wounded were in critical condition. Images from inside an Aleppo hospital broadcast on Al-Ikhbariya TV show men and children lying on stretchers, some with their heads bandaged, while others have what appears to be abdomen wounds.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported fatalities, saying four children were killed in the attack.
Al-Ikhbariya TV said the military responded to the source of fire, areas controlled by insurgents in the nearby rebel stronghold.
Fighting has raged over the last seven weeks in northwestern Syria as government forces press an offensive toward the last rebel stronghold in the country’s eight-year civil war.
The violence has displaced hundreds of thousands inside the rebel enclave, which is home to 3 million people, most of them already displaced from earlier violence in Syria. At least 300 civilians were killed in government bombings, and over two dozen health facilities were put out of service following airstrikes.
Separately, in eastern Syria’s town of Qamishli, a car bomb went off near the headquarters of the Kurdish security forces, leaving several people injured. Qamishli is run by Kurdish-led administrators and forces, but Syrian government troops hold pockets of territory there, including the airport.
The area has largely been spared much of the violence that has wrecked Syria. But attacks, mostly blamed on Daesh militants, have occurred recently in areas in eastern Syria after the extremists were kicked out of their last territorial enclave in Syria earlier this year.
In a video by the Kurdish news agency Hawar, the explosion appeared to have damaged a number of cars nearby. Then authorities lifted the mangled car bomb from the area.
The Observatory said seven were injured when a suicide bomber detonated the car bomb after failing to drive into the Kurdish security forces headquarters.